JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 8, 2023) – Florida National University’s baseball team dropped a close game to the NCAA DII Edward Waters University Tigers Wednesday. FNU held a 6-4 lead in the ninth before a sacrifice fly to centerfield allowed the Tigers to win in walk-off fashion. The Conquistadors came into this road trip 2-2 in its last four games and still stand a game shy of passing last year’s win total. The 2022 HBCU title holders looked to gain their tenth win of the season and recently lost a series versus Spring Hill College 1-2.
The Conquistadors got on the board first after a single to left field from Gino Bellantoni scored Matthew Gonzalez for FNU’s first run of the afternoon. Gonzalez scored next off an RBI single from Roberto Fernandez. In the bottom of the third, Edward Waters got into the game with an RBI single of their own to make it a 2-1 ballgame heading into the fourth.
A double from Gonzalez placed Jose Carpena in scoring position at third and allowed the shortstop to slide in for the score a few plays later. Gonzalez would later give FNU a 4-1 lead after a Fernandez double at the end of the frame. The Tigers scored on a double in the fifth and tied up the game in the seventh after a wild pitch set up a two-run, two-hit, and one-error inning heading into the eighth.
After a scoreless eighth for both teams, the game would be decided in a tumultuous ninth inning filled with drama and intrigue. At the top, FNU took a 5-4 lead after a sacrifice fly from Alejandro De Arazoza landed Gonzalez his third run of the afternoon. Bellantoni made it a two-run lead for FNU after first baseman Yordangel Gonzalez reached first on a fielder’s choice before the Tigers took over.
FNU stumbled on defense after an error put Tiger runners at second and third. The Tigers would rattle off three straight runs, including a crushing sac fly from pinch hitter Daiton Pass that pushed in Ferante Cowart for the winning run. FNU and the Tiger each totaled 11 hits as FNU gave up four costly errors to the Tigers’ two.
Up Next: Baseball returns to Jacksonville, Fla., for a three-game series versus Trinity Baptist College. The first pitch is set for 5 p.m. Friday.